How To Make a Model Train Village

Making a model train village involves more than simply building a miniature town around some railroad tracks. It is an art that requires creativity, patience, and artisanal skills. Oftentimes, historic knowledge and accuracy are needed to make model train villages, especially when it is based off an actual railroad town. Use your imagination and workmanship to turn ordinary craft materials into a miniature train town.

What you need:

  • Your model train
  • Train tracks
  • Foundation board
  • Miniature trees, cars, and other town structures
  • Craft wood, card stock
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Craft glue
  • Saw, craft knife, or spatula
  • Paint and paintbrushes
  • Clay
  1. Determine your model town design. Decide on how your town would look like, and whether you will base it off a historic train town or a current one. You can also create a design of your own, if you don’t want to base the design off a real train village. You can draw a detailed sketch if you have to. Also, determine a general scale for your miniature town so your model buildings and other structures share common dimensions. For instance, a one story building can be measured as two inches, and all other measurements should follow that scale, to be consistent.
  2. Prepare your materials according to your design. Choose a foundation board to build your town on, and plan out where each building and village structure will be placed according to your design. You can either use pre-made buildings (though this will be more expensive) or you can gather craft wood or card stock to make your own. Recyclable materials are also good to use. If you choose to make your own buildings, then continue with the following phase. Otherwise, skip to the next one.
  3. Make your buildings. Whether using craft wood or card stock, trace each side of a building and roof onto your material and cut it out accordingly. Also, draw and cut out the windows and doorways according to each building’s design. Be sure to use the general scale you determined earlier to map out the building’s dimensions. Paint these items using craft paint, and let them dry before gluing the pieces together. You can also add special features such as downspouts, brick patterns, or snow covering parts of the house if you want or if your design requires you to.
  4. Prepare the foundation board. Use clay as the model town’s landscape. Mix the clay according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply a half-an-inch thick layer along the board. Use a craft knife or spatula to spread and carve the material, and add some more clay to add other landscaping features such as tunnels and hills. Just be sure to leave the building areas as flat as possible. Let the clay dry for at least two days before continuing.
  5. Add your building and other features. Paint or add material to the foundation board for the appropriate landscape features such as snow and pavements. Place the buildings on the foundation board and use a craft knife to carve off some clay to make them more even on the ground. Place your railroad tracks also, and see if they are also even on the ground. Then, add the miniature trees, cars, people and other items for the finishing touches.

Making a model train village involves imagination and skill. The finished product can be useful as decorations and toys. You can even sell your creations as home décor or gifts.


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